Iceland, 20-25 August 2016

Departure: Thursday, 25 August

Garðskagi Lighthouse
Up at 4:45, out at 5:25 to bring Bill to the airport for his early flight. After I dropped him off at 6:15, I drove to the lighthouse where we started this birding venture. The day was again misty, cold, and heavily overcast, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to see anything, but I had time to kill and no better idea. It was very cloudy at the lighthouse, but clear enough to see the birds. Again not nice for photography, just as it was the first time. I stayed from 6:35 to 7:30, watching the Dunlin and plovers hunting on the shore, and a steady stream of Northern Gannets flying to the west beyond the lighthouse point, visible even against the grey wall of mist. This morning the terns, so active and noisy the first day, were quieter and stayed out at the tip of the rocks.
— Lighthouse eBird list
— Another Dermandar panorama

Lagoon Rental
From here I brought the car to Lagoon Rental at 8:00 with 1587 km on the trip odo. That's 986 miles. One of the girls at the desk had to talk me in over the phone from down the street - I got close, but there are too many little businesses all crammed together back there, and their sign was a very quiet one. The return process took a while because there was a line, but otherwise went smoothly.

Keflavík Airport
The shuttle left there at 8:35, and we got to the airport at 8:42 - that's how close the place is. In the security line from 8:58 till 9:14. The boarding pass said boarding time was 9:40, so after making a pass through the duty-free shop for some good chocolate, I went to find my gate. Again I had to make my way through crowds of people in the passageway, and this morning there were a lot more than there had been after midnight the night we arrived.

I found my gate, which was nothing more than a knot of people hanging out around a line of back-to-back chairs that went right down the middle of the passageway, so that if you were only passing through on your way to another gate, you'd have to push through the crowd and avoid the line of chairs. There weren't nearly enough chairs for even a quarter of the people waiting there, and the other half of the passageway appeared to be another gate for another flight, so the knot of people here was actually two flight's worth, all mixed together. Some people sat, some stood, and some milled about aimlessly. A line started forming against the wall, so I got in it. Although the boarding pass said boarding would begin at 9:40, I didn't get into my seat until 10:20, so there was a lot of standing and waiting and wishing I'd stopped for a breakfast sandwich anyway.

The plane took off at 10:40, and I found myself on the plane named Dyngjufjöll again - the same one we flew over in. As soon as we were off the ground, everything out the window went white with fog and clouds. I had hoped to take photos out the window, but only got the rainbow "glory" around the plane shadow on the clouds, and a distant snow-capped mountain peak visible in the distance, poking up through the clouds just long enough for me to catch it.

Looking out the window at 11:57 I could see an expanse of snowy peaks coming up - Greenland! We didn't see it on the way to Iceland and I didn't think I would now. Near the coast I saw lots of rocky islands, barren and grey with some snow. I saw something that looked like a huge barge or building in the water; when I examined my photo later, I found it to be an iceberg. I've never seen one before, so even having seen it from that distance, I felt awe. On the mainland, rocky peaks jutted up through vast expanses of snow, and huge glaciers were apparent from patterns showing evidence of movement. At 12:05 the cloud cover hid everything from view again. Greenland was a huge and unexpected treat.

Here is where my trip log ends, but I'll follow with General Notes & Observations.

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